Livebaiting For Bass

The Bass hunt goes on. We were actually out initially on one of our closest rough ground marks catching a few Pollack for the pot when on the way in I decided to go and get some Mackerel for the wife, her and my daughter love Mackerel above all other fish (yes I include Bass and Brill in that). The sea was blowing a fresh wind over tide force 5 and it wasn’t really fit to be out, then we had a massive surprise.

Just as we were getting ready to call it a day we noticed Mackerel breaking the surface, hundreds of them. This isn’t so unusual, we get a number of sharks around here that will do that. This wasn’t a normal sharky type of day though and on closer inspection what we saw was good nuumber of very large Bass (including double figures) hearding and worrying the Mackerel! It’s no exageration to say this was the quickest tackle change you are ever likely to see, within 5 minutes we had a variety of lures ready to throw at them but as quick as they had appeared they were gone! Gutted.

Plans were made and on Sunday I got the chance to get out there (all 500 yards out) and have a go at the Bass properly. In these sort of scenarious where the Bass aren’t holding structure (believe me I side scanned every inch of that sea bed and there’s no structure) but instead are persuing prey it seemed that livebaiting what they were after would be the best idea. Within 10 minutes I had my first live Mackerel down, within 10 minutes and 30 seconds the riggling on the end of the line had stopped. It appears as though single hooking one part of the mouth is not effective. I tried bottom and upper jaws but each time the Mackerel threw the size 6/0 hook within seconds. I had to resort to the method I use for the Tope which involves passing the hook through the bottom and through the top, whilst this closes the Mackerels mouth and restricts water flow I’ve had no problem with Mackerel dying using this method. Even when it’s time for a fresh bait they still swim away full of life after spending 30 minutes on the end of a hook. The Portland rig is very effective for this type of fishing.

It took an hour to get the first hit. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t deal with it well. The rod tip went crazy for 5-10 seconds as something was obviously bothering the Mackerel, then there was a large knock on the rod. Straight away I let out line but impatience got the better of me and instead of giving it the recommended 30 seconds or more I was far too kean to see what was on the end of the line. As it turns out it was nothing more than a dead Mackerel!

The following 2 takes were much more decisive but unfortunately both still didn’t result in any hook-ups. Instead of a dead Mackerel though I was left with only the head on the hook, not exactly what you’d expect from Bass so it had me thinking that there were perhaps some Tope in the area as well. Being small joeys I just would have expected that a Tope would take something like that down without even touching the sides so it’s still a bit of a mystery. A mystery that we tried to solve the next day without any joy, force 5 winds again and a 3 knot drift and 6 foot swells brought about an early end to proceedings.

I’ll not be giving up though, at least the first hit had Bass written all over it, combined with the visual we’d had on them is enough to warrant a few more goes. What we really need is the weather to do us a few favours, something which doesn’t look like happening this week at least.

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